Sausages have been around for a long time. They are not a modern fast food invention.
The humble sausage, whether it is made of pork, beef, venison, or any other kind of meat, has a long and distinguished history.
In Ancient Greece, a comedy play called ‘Orya’, or ‘The Sausage’. Became very popular around the year 500BC. Unfortunately only part of the script survives, so we will never know what the Greeks thought was so funny about a sausages.
The Ancient Romans loved to eat pork sausage spiced up with pine nuts and it became a special food which was served up on feast days. When Constantine the Great became the Emperor, in AD 324, he banned the sausage and called it sinful. This was probably because he was a Christian and these Ancient Roman Festivals were of pagan origin. However, a black market trade in sausages flourished and eventually the ban was lifted.
The sausage is also famous for giving rise to the first recognised cases of botulism. In 1793, in Germany, 13 people shared a sausage for their meal and within hours all were seriously ill. Six of them died and the disease they had caught became know as botulism from the Latin word for sausage, ‘botulus’. If they had boiled the sausage for just two minutes, it would have been safe to eat.
In 1981, a Moroccan ship’s engineer was arrested and fined $100, plus two years in jail for hanging a sausage on a hook. This was considered to be an insult to King Hassan of Morocco because the hook was specially reserved for a portrait of the king.
At Miller Park, Milwaukee, the baseball team holds ’sausage races’ in which people dressed as sausages run around the park. During the 2003 sausages races, member of the visiting team struck the Italian sausage with his bat. After the game the offending player was arrested and fined $430. The Italian sausage, Mandy Block, accepted his apology and continued to take part in the races. She was awarded a certificate of bravery by the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council.
So, the next time you sit down to eat a sausage, no matter what variety, remember that this humble dish has a long and interesting history.
Published in: Cooking